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January 8, 2010

RB McKnight to enter NFL Draft

USC running back Joe McKnight has decided to forgo his senior season and enter the 2010 NFL Draft, sources confirmed Friday.

McKnight, USC's leading rusher last season, is the second Trojan running back to announce he'd be heading to the NFL, joining Stafon Johnson.

McKnight rushed for 1,014 yards and eight touchdowns as a junior, averaging 6.2 yards per carry.

Prior to the Emerald Bowl, the Los Angeles Times' investigated McKnight's use of a Land Rover registered to a Santa Monica businessman.

Friday morning, McKnight told ESPN he'd be leaving school and entering the Draft.

"The time is right," McKnight told ESPN. "This was my first healthy season and I really don't want to come back and risk injury."

McKnight rushed for 2,213 yards in three years at USC.

McKnight's departure could impact C.J. Gable's decision. A source close to USC told us that convincing Gable to return becomes a priority. Allen Bradford will now enter spring football as USC's No. 1 running back. Gable, Marc Tyler and Curtis McNeal are all expected to compete for carries as well.

While it's unclear whether McKnight's eligibility, which has still not been resolved, played an issue in his departure. Prior to the story, McKnight said he was returning for his senior season a number of times. He also reiterated that statement moments after USC's win over Boston College in the Emerald Bowl.

McKnight's departure for the NFL is the latest roster change in an active offseason. Quarterback Aaron Corp will transfer to Richmond, Everson Griffen declared for the NFL Draft and Damian Williams is expected to leave school for the NFL as well.


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